Hat tip to John Ray at Immigration Watch International for bringing this interview with Mark Krikorian, head of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), to my attention. As we have previously told you, Mr. Krikorian has a new book out entitled, “The New Case Against Immigration” in which he calls for a halt to legal and illegal mass immigration.
I heard Mr. Krikorian speak in Annapolis in early June here and here. I agree with just about every word this man has written in “The New Case…”, but one thing. He says immigrants have not changed, we have, our country has. Maybe it’s just because I focus mostly on refugee issues, but I think immigrants have changed in that we are bringing to the US large numbers of refugees who are illiterate even in their own language and have absolutely no skills.
When we consider the waves of immigrants who came to America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s from countries like Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Russia, we know that most of those came with at least a rudimentary education and very often a skill. With no established government welfare system, they also had to work and assimilate otherwise they wouldn’t eat.
The following are some portions of the interview that interested me, but be sure to read the whole interview.
Krikorian is asked why he thinks LEGAL immigration is a problem:
Lopez[NRO editor]: How can you possibly be against LEGAL immigration?
Krikorian: It’s a mistake to think of legal and illegal immigration as distinct phenomena. They come from the same places through the same means, often in the same families and even the same people (shifting back and forth between being legal and illegal), and have the same impact on society. Obviously, any effort to reform immigration policy has to start with enforcing the rules, because without that, it doesn’t really matter what the rules are. But in addition, you have to consider whether the rules themselves should be changed. And apart from the, admittedly grave, question of legal status, all the other problems caused by illegal immigration are also caused by legal immigration.
Krikorian addressed welfare:
Lopez: “Given that current immigration policy ensures that immigrants will be a fiscal burden, is there a way out?”
Krikorian: Once you let 19th century-style workers into a 21st century advanced society, taxpayers are guaranteed to bear the cost. And this is not because the immigrants are coming to rip us off, but because of the mismatch between them and us. If you have a sixth-grade education in an advanced society like ours, it doesn’t matter how hard you work or how many jobs you have — you will not be able to earn enough to support your family without welfare. This is why poverty and lack of health insurance and thus welfare use are so high among immigrants, especially among those from Latin America. That we could admit huge numbers of peasants without creating social costs was one of the animating ideas behind the 1996 welfare-reform bill, and it’s been proved wrong — about a third of immigrant-headed households overall still use at least one major welfare program, half-again higher than among the native-born. And among households headed by immigrants from Mexico, the largest group, fully half are on welfare. This isn’t their fault. It isn’t our fault. Bit it is an inescapable reality of modern life, and we need to adjust our immigration policy to reflect it.
His comments on the potential for terrorists to enter the country:
Lopez: Are green cards a terrorist’s dream come true?
Krikorian: Green cards, political asylum, refugee resettlement, the Visa Lottery, Border-Crossing Cards, student visas, work visas, the Visa-Waiver Program . . .
And, finally on compassion:
Lopez: Tell me why your arguments are much more compassionate than, say, Roger Cardinal Mahoney gives them (or you) credit for.
Krikorian: Compassionate toward whom? The goal of a nation’s public policy is to promote the interests of the nation’s citizens, and only secondarily consider the interests and concerns of outsiders. The objects of my compassion are, first, my family, then my wider community or associations, then my countrymen, and only then foreigners. The undifferentiated compassion of too many of the open-borders crowd — in which I regretfully include Cardinal Mahoney — effectively rejects patriotic solidarity among Americans, which is a prerequisite for democracy itself.